Teatro Publico de Cleveland presents a Latino ‘A Christmas Carol’

Teatro Publico de Cleveland began in 2013 as a means for the Latino community to be able to be involved in the theatrical community of Northeast Ohio. With each season the company has strove to “up its game” with the production of more and more sophisticated works. This year’s offering is Maya Malan-Gonzalez’s A Xmas Cuento Remix (A Christmas Story Remix) which is the company’s first musical and a modern Latino update on the classic Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. The goal of Teatro Publico is to train actors, writers, directors and crew in order to become a self sustaining entity in the Cleveland theater community.

Anita Chapa (Hillary Wheelock) has been fired as a food server on Christmas Eve after working a double shift but refusing to work on Christmas day. With her loss of income, she and her husband Tomas Chapa (Andrew Aaron Valdez), daughter Gina Chapa (Selena Awesome Vicario), son Dominique Chapa (Angelluis Roman Centeno) and Tomas’ father Abuela Chapa face eviction from their home.

In desperation, Anita goes to visit her estranged aunt, Dolores Avara Mónica A. Cerpa Zúñiga, a prominent business woman in the area. Dolores is the modern day female Latino Scrooge of her day who sends Anita packing into the cold.

Later that night she is visited by the ghost of her sister, Elena (Hillary Wheelock), Anita’s birth mother who had deserted Anita and had stolen Dolores’ college tuition money. Elena shows Dolores the yards of “gold bling” that she is forced to carry in the afterlife in punishment for a life wrongly led and warns that Dolores is heading down the same path. Elena reveals that Dolores will be visited by three female spirits in the hope that she will change her life for the better before it is too late.

As promised, Ixchel (Blanca Iris Garcia Rivera Salva) The Ghost of Christmas Past, Sol (Tania Benites) The ghost of Christmas Present) and La Catrina (Christina Patterson) The Ghost of Christmas Future visit the wayward Dolores to convince her to mend her ways.

From the opening number to the well known finish this is a highly spirited Latino depiction of the Dickens’ classic with hip-hop, rap, traditional Spanish carols as well as English carols all blended together in a rather superb musical package. The principle actors do a fine enough job portraying the various layered characters although parts of the two hour show do seem to drag a bit. Special mention to Anthony “TonyFresh” Velez for his gymnastic break dancing techniques that added greatly to the show.

This will be probably the most energetic and Latino female cast version of A Christmas Carol you will ever experience. With a mixture of Spanish and English it is not difficult to follow the story line since most of us know the tale by heart. Kudos to Cleveland Public Theatre for bringing this show to stage.

A Xmas Cuento Remix (A Christmas Story Remix) will run through December 21, 2019 in the James Levin Theatre, 6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Tickets and information is available by visiting www.cptonline.org or by calling (216) 631-2727 x501.

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.